David French responds to a critic who didn't appreciate French's
claim that Virginia's abortion law promoted ‘infanticide’ and
‘Abortion Kills a Baby’ Is Not an ‘Uncivil’ Argument.
A person can and typically should tell difficult truths without being uncivil or indecent. It is one thing to contest an idea, or to share a fact, or even to offer your own description (like “barbaric”). It is another thing entirely to offer personal insults or ascribe evil motives to your opponents — especially when we (unlike Christ) can’t see into people’s hearts. Moreover, petty insults are particularly pernicious coming from Christians. We know that our virtue comes from Christ, not ourselves. We can boast only in Him and should be grateful, not proud, when we are able to perceive truth.
It is a common tactic in public discourse to try to banish ideas from debate by labeling their very utterance “uncivil.” You see this in the battle over gender identity, where it is now considered so malicious to refer to transgender people with pronouns that match their biological sex that in some jurisdictions you can even face legal sanction if you call Chelsea Manning “he.” We saw this in the battle over gay marriage, where even expressing the idea that marriage is properly defined as the union of a man and woman was seen as too outrageous to utter.
I've been mulling the Arthur C. Brooks thesis that we should love our enemies (although I haven't read his book yet). I suppose you can call the Virginia law "barbaric", but people will inevitably jump to the implication that the law's supporters are, therefore, barbarians.
This is not even venturing into a more straightforward counterexample…
Specifically, the example of Congresscritter Ocasio-Cortez. The
Minuteman recounts her latest history-challenged allegation:
AOC Doubles Down On Dumb.
Specifically, AOC initially claimed: "[Congress] had to amend the Constitution of the United States to make sure Roosevelt dd not get reelected."
Hmm. The 22nd Amendment that was eventually adopted emerged from the 80th Congress which convened in 1947 (p. 69, "Amendments to the Constitution: A Brief Legislative History". FDR had died in 1945; as an attempt to prevent his re-election the 22nd Amendment was sure to succeed. So har de har, AOC don't know much about history. In any case, the text of the 22nd Amendment includes a clause that makes it inapplicable to the officeholder(s) during the period of proposal and ratification (which was 1951).
Worse: Newsweek attempted to defend AOC's ahistoricism. (You have to read very closely to discover Newsweek's admission that the 22nd Amendment, as proposed, would not have applied to FDR even if it had been magically ratified before his 1944 re-election.)
And subsequently AOC used Newsweek to mock her critics. Hence, doubling down on dumb.
Interestingly, Newsweek changed its article's headline from:
ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ ATTACKED ON TWITTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL MISTAKE—BUT WAS SHE ACTUALLY RIGHT?
to (as I type):
ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ ATTACKED ON TWITTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL MISTAKE—BUT HERE'S THE FULL STORY
I think that's an implicit admission that, yes, she was actually wrong.
So, what I want to discuss with Arthur C. Brooks is: I don't consider either AOC or Newsweek to be my "enemies", exactly. But it's difficult to point out their dishonesty and stupidity without slopping over into implications that they are dishonest and stupid.
If that's "loving your enemies", it's very tough love.
At Reason, J.D. Tuccille has a strong suggestion:
Media Must Drop the Political Shenanigans and Get Back to Scrutinizing the Powerful.
Looking for evidence that ink- and pixel-stained wretches are their own worst enemies when it comes to destroying public trust in the media? Consider the continuing turmoil of a week which closed with an MSNBC news editor pressuring a freelance writer on behalf of the Democratic Party just days after media types donned collective frowny faces because an investigation apparently did not find evidence that the president conspired with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election.
That MSNBC editor, Dafna Linzer, called journalist Yashar Ali to try and convince him to delay or kill a small story that would slightly inconvenience the Democratic Party over its presidential primary debate plans. According to Ali, "the head of all political coverage for NBC News and MSNBC" had not been "calling to advocate for her network, she was calling to advocate the DNC's position."
As noted at in an evergreen Instapundit quip: "Just think of the media as Democratic Party operatives with bylines, and it all makes sense."
David Harsanyi at the Federalist fails to embrace the Zuck:
Mark Zuckerberg's Plan For The Internet Would Be A Disaster For Free Speech.
In a recent op-ed, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg implored the state to get more involved in governing the internet. “Every day, we make decisions about what speech is harmful, what constitutes political advertising, and how to prevent sophisticated cyberattacks,” he began. “These are important for keeping our community safe. But if we were starting from scratch, we wouldn’t ask companies to make these judgments alone.”
Zuckerberg’s case for government-instituted speech codes is a cynical attempt to deflect criticism aimed at his company. But it’s also propelled by two corrosive political myths.
- There’s no such thing as “harmful speech”;
- There's nothing stopping Zuck from ridding Facebook of whatever speech he doesn't like;
- There's no responsibility for anyone else, let alone Your Federal Government, to aid and abet him in his censorship quest;
- There's less than zero evidence Your Federal Government would be very good at that job anyway;
- Facebook users can already block or ignore accounts they consider offensive;
- What Zuck really wants is uniform censorship, eliminating competition on that facet.
… and maybe some other points I missed.
pays homage to a classic, while still commenting on current events:
What we need at this moment: Ben Stein intoning "Mueller? … Mueller? … Mueller?"